In Pan Post 90 King Arthur and some of his knights are in The Blue Hut in their settlement on Caledonia, where they discuss how to rescue Prince Mordred from the drow that kidnapped him in Pan Post 89. The post jumps between times, from the past to the present, initially opening aboard Camelot when the ship decided to arrive at the planet Caledonia by itself. To raise their settlement The Greene Knight, who reveals himself as a Naacal to Gamma Pans and Sir Kay, works with Sir Gawain to raise plants necessary for habitation. King Mark and Queen Iseult try to keep their unfortunate private affairs to themselves when Sir Tristram is present. Back in the present Prince Mordred, trapped upon a mountain with Prelate Seerias as his captor, watches as Camelot descends into the atmosphere and opens fire on the planet below. Seerias recognises the ship, revealing that its original owners may be on the planet already.
The Invaders of Caledonia
Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Prince Mordred | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Sir Kay | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Galahad | Sir Tristram | Sir Caelia | Sir Red Rose Knight | Sir Black Knight | Sir Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | Monde | King Mark | Queen Iseult | Sir Gawain | Sir Greene Knight | Isolde of the White Hands | Prelate Seerias
Several months ago...
King Arthur: "Now that the wall has let me go... where are we?"
Tom a'Lincoln marches across the Command Deck as though he'd never been pinned to the wall at all. His ability to walk straight, no matter how wobbly, or drunk, or tired he is often staggers Arthur's mind. All those years at sea certainly did his sense of balance the world of good. Arthur generally avoided boats altogether because a few inches of oak tree between him and swimming the breadth of the Irish Sea never appealed. The only reason Arthur is satisfied with this ship is because instead of inches of wood, there's metres upon metres of metal.
Besides, if God had wanted man to go floundering about in water He would have made both halves of a mermaid attractive instead of just the top half. And He would have made manatees more appealing in general.
Tom a'Lincoln: "I have no idea, Sire. The ship just kind of... went where it wanted to go..."
Guinevere: "What do you mean by that?"
She gracefully walks over to Arthur, again as though she had also never been pinned to the walk. Guinevere possesses an almost supernatural ability to appear composed at all times. Even when pinned to the wall she looked, to Arthur, lies she was lying upon their bed.
Though that may just be wishful thinking on his part.
Tom a'Lincoln: "When I set a course to leave the Solar System it automatically generated this location, your majesty."
Guinevere: "I see. Would that mean the original owners of this vessel had intended to come here?"
There's a moment of quiet as everyone considers the implications of that.
Tom a'Lincoln: "I... suppose so."
King Arthur: "They took my son!?"
He looks like his indignation might boil over into pure rage. Then, abruptly, it vanishes.
King Arthur: "Guess I'll have to work on getting new ones."
Sir Kay: "Or we could, you know, save him?"
His indignation returns.
King Arthur: "Right! I shall save my son!"
They're gathered together in a large hut, made from the blue logs of the jungle trees. The Blue Hut, as it is mostly known, is Arthur and Guinevere's private abode and is positioned towards the near of the camp - which faces a thin stream. The stream itself has been encompassed into the camp so that a source of fresh water is provided and has even been cleverly engineered to come up some metal faucets like in the rooms of Camelot. Arthur has even had a toilet installed. This had been his top priority as he didn't want to have to start pooping in pans to give to servants anymore. He remembered that one servant once stole his poop and sold it as 'divine poop' that someone smeared on their head... It wasn't a nice thing to witness when the man was arrested for refusing to wash it off and his story judged. He always remembers, specifically, the man's grin through the--
Sir Kay: "I know where they went. Me and Sir Tristram watched them after their flying... brick--"
He glances at Sir Bedivere for confirmation on the terminology.
Sir Kay: "--went towards a distant mountain. The mountain is pretty far off, could take a while to get there unless we use the spaceboats."
Sir Tristram: "We'd lose any surprise we might have had though..."
Sir Kay: "They're all--"
He wiggles his fingers.
Sir Kay: "--magical though. They'd probably know we were coming either way."
Queen Guinevere: "Not all of them, dear knight."
Tempers soften as the Queen of Space Britain talks.
Queen Guinevere: "We have met many who are very pleasant and cooperative. We have learnt much about this world from them. But their society is just like our human societies of Earth. Fractured and separated. One may favour us... another may not..."
Sir Bedivere: "Indeed, your majesty. Why would they not favour us, I wonder?"
Sir Tristram: "I want to know why they stole away with the prince."
King Arthur: "I want to know how Africans got here before us!"
There's a silence of absolute puzzlement between everyone save Arthur. He continues without noticing.
King Arthur: "Maybe they found a ship of their own! Was it Ethiopia? I believe they are a powerful kingdom!"
Sir Bedivere: "Sire, not all black people are Africans..."
King Arthur: "... they're not?"
Sir Bedivere: "I believe we need to have a conversation about racism, Sire. But we can assume that the drow are native to this world. They do need perfectly adapted to it."
King Arthur: "Like they evolved to suit the world?"
The knights look in horror at him.
Sir Bedivere: "Absolutely not! They were evidently created by God to suit the environment He put them in, Sire."
King Arthur: "Oh right. That's what I meant to say."
Sir Kay: "Along with the Space Badgers?"
Sir Robin: "They're obviously created by the devil himself!"
Sir Lancelot: "At least it didn't eat you!"
Sir Kay: "Unfortunately..."
Sir Robin is seated on the wooden armchair, again made of the same blue wood as the rest of the building only smoothed out to be soft and smooth to the touch. Someone has made comfortable cushions for the chair that are coloured white to compliment the blue wood décor well. With the large white cushions are small blue pillows, one of which Sir Robin clutches to his stomach as he remembers being sat on by the giant badger-like monster beyond the palisade.
The windows of the hut contain glass that is slightly tinted white, apparently due to the chemical compounds of the sand on this planet. This gives the outside a lighter look that it actually has. The curtains are white drapes. The Greene Knight had created some cotton plants that was used to make the materials. Trying to find a plant adequate for making cloth has so far been a trial.
The wood does burn very well and Sir Gawain throws another blue log into the fireplace. The scent of the wood is, however, quite strong and took the knights a while to get used to it. It smells somewhere between fruit and Coca-Cola[Ext 1]. Like coke with a twist of lemon and lime.
Most of the knights are standing, Sir Gawain on fireplace duty, while Queen Guinevere, Gamma Pans and The Faerie Knight are seated around a blue circular table. Only Sir Robin is sitting by himself, aways from everyone, on account of his infirm state.
Gamma Pans: "I hope they don't do anything terrible to the young prince..."
King Arthur: "I heard that Africans cut a man's..."
He makes cutting motions towards his nether region. A few knights recoil in horror.
Sir Kay: "You know Africa is a continent, not a single culture, right?"
Queen Guinevere: "And they're not Africans."
King Arthur seems oblivious to their remarks.
King Arthur: "If they do render him female--"
Sir Bedivere: "That wouldn't mean he's--"
King Arthur: "--then I guess I'll need new children to continue the line!"
Sir Tristram wouldn't let on but he finds these kinds of remarks very irritating, judging that the king is more than keen to cut Prince Mordred from the line of succession. Guinevere, too, doesn't seem to mind the constant references made by her husband. Though loyal to Arthur, Tristram has a deep respect for Mordred and feels he'd be an excellent king with more time to learn to take his responsibilities seriously.
Sir Bedivere: "Do we go for an all-out assault of the mountain then? It may be very dangerous given we do not know the terrain very well."
Sir Tristram: "We should obviously scout the area with a small party. Maybe we can even get in undetected--"
Sir Kay: "Magic! Hello?"
Sir Tristram: "Magic only works when being used. If there are magical detectors, then perhaps, but otherwise I see no reason we couldn't manage it. I have taken out many evil wizards in my time, Sir Kay."
Sir Kay: "Uh, yeah! So have I! I was just saying, you know, they might have those magic detectors... right?"
Sir Tristram: "We don't know what defences they have in place unless we scout the area."
The Faerie Knight: "We could approach the locals and see if they'd help us. They might have information on the area, or even offer to take us there."
Sir Bedivere: "They may know what they want with the prince."
Sir Lancelot: "They probably want a ransom. Confound their blackhearts!"
Sir Gawain: "Who will go to meet the locals then? I think I remember the way to the nearest drow village..."
Sir Tristram: "A group to meet the locals and another group on standby for battle at all times. They may well return or we might have to move quickly to this magic mountain in a rescue effort..."
King Arthur: "Good, good, Sir Tristram. I was wise to hire you."
Nobody comments how Arthur takes Tristram's success and makes it his own.
Sir Tristram: "Glad to be of service, your majesty. The tournament was a long time ago..."
He speaks as his mind briefly drifts to the past. It doesn't last long, though, as he thinks of the unfortunate prince in bondage.
Not that kind of bondage, you dirty minded readers.
Sir Tristram: "So... now we just need to decide who will seek out the local drow village?"
Several months ago;
King Mark: "I think this would make a fine spot! Clear the trees, push back the jungle, and we'd have enough wood to make a strong wall to protect against these... giant badgers."
Queen Iseult: "And there's a freshwater stream nearby."
King Mark: "Have we tested the water yet? It may not be safe to drink..."
Queen Iseult: "Sir Robin already drank it... and he's not dead."
King Mark: "Ah. Quite."
Nobody has to ask why Sir Robin drank the water without checking it was safe. The answer would, invariably, be; "Because it's Sir Robin".
Sir Gawain: "I've seen some of the jungle trees that have fruit on them. No one has eaten them yet, but hopefully they'll be edible."
Sir Kay: "Maybe we should give them to Sir Robin..."
Sir Kay is an odd addition to the planning committee this morning. He's never shown an interest before but suddenly he's down here with the 'tree-huggers' as he'd been calling them before now. King Mark and Queen Iseult are joined not only by Sir Kay and Sir Gawain but also the usual presence of The Greene Knight and Gamma Pans. Between them The Greene Knight and Sir Gawain have been studying the flora and fauna for sources of food and materials.
Queen Iseult: "I do wish there was more light. This can't be healthy for us."
King Mark: "I'm inclined to agree with you, dear. But I think we'll be fine here for a while. You know our king. He likes to try new things. This is just another stint, like when we were on Saturn."
He glances at Gamma Pans.
King Mark: "My apologies."
Gamma Pans: "Water under the bridge, as you might say."
They hear voices nearby and glance over. From the trees they can see the young Prince Mordred in the distance. He's not wearing his armour, only his princely costume of furs and fine silk. On his head is an especially broad hat with a feather tipped in it. Mark doesn't approve much of the young man. He had too much of his mother in him.
Then they see Sir Tristram with Mordred and an awkward silence drops upon husband and wife.
They wait until the two have passed by, out of sight, and Mark turns to Iseult and softly says;
King Mark: "I'm sorry."
Iseult flashes angry eyes at him.
Queen Iseult: "Don't. Don't do that."
King Mark: "What?"
She speaks agitatedly but as hushed as her angry tone will allow, trying to keep it out of earshot of the others who are poking at the soil and discussing whether it would do for growing crops. They marvel as The Greene Knight causes a cotton plant to spontaneously grow from the ground.
Queen Iseult: "Don't be nice to me. Don't apologise. Why are you apologising!? You did nothing..."
King Mark: "I'm sorry that you have to see him. I know it must bother you..."
Queen Iesult: "Bother me? Why doesn't it bother you!?"
King Mark: "It does. It does..."
They're both quiet again and the voices of the others creeps over them as they stare at each other with deep, awkward sorrow.
Sir Kay: "Is that magic? Where did you learn it?"
The Greene Knight: "Magic of my people, Sir Kay."
Sir Kay: "The Chinese you mean?"
Sir Gawain: "For forty days and forty nights?"
The Greene Knight: "Perhaps. I don't think our stories are so specific. Either way, the survivors drifted to Asia where we dwelt in the forests of the land. We live... longer than humans."
Sir Kay: "How long?"
The Greene Knight: "Since I'm on an interplanetary mission on a hostile planet, probably until I get an arrow to the skull from one of those sneaky drow characters."
Sir Kay: "Fair point."
The Greene Knight: "So yes. Our magic is passed down through the generations. It's entirely genetic in nature. We have an extra feature to our cells which allows the production of magic. It's why I don't need aether to use magic and I'm unaffected by The Rift to Albion. Probably why The Lady of the Lake doesn't like me very much."
Sir Kay: "She is a bit of a prickly tart though."
Sir Gawain: "So rude."
Gamma Pans: "Do you think you could understand my magical amulet, Sir... uh. Sorry I don't actually know your name."
The Greene Knight: "Everyone just calls me The Greene Knight. If you have to call me Sir anything, then Sir Greene will do just fine."
Gamma Pans: "Sir Greene it is."
The Greene Knight: "As for your amulet, sorry I can't help. My magic is very narrow focused. It's flora only. Your lightning is more... aether magic. Wizard magic. Even witch magic. Mine is nature magic and nature only. Sorry I can't help you."
Sir Kay snorts.
Sir Kay: "Weird to hear them called that. And if there's one thing I know about those two, it's they can't work together to save their own lives. God knows how poor Old Merlin kept up."
Gamma Pans: "Why is it that this God person seems to know so much?"
The Christians sigh. Sir Greene smirks with amusement.
Several months later;
Prince Mordred: "My father will come for me, Prelate Seerias. You know that, right?"
Prelate Seerias: "I'm counting on it, little princeling."
They're still on the side of the mountain, underneath the dark sky. Lolth still looms there, as though it spurs on the prelate's misdeeds. Only the smaller, less spectacular moons, otherwise occupy the sky now. Their small round shapes dot the sky. One of them is moving quite quickly, while the rest slowly pace their way across landscape. Dark clouds seem to be rolling in from the east. The first storm he would experience on this world - and he's stuck out in the open on a mountain.
Prince Mordred: "So you're setting a trap? Don't you want a ransom or something?"
Prelate Seerias: "The only ransom I would accept is that you invaders leave our world and never return."
Prince Mordred: "We're not invaders."
Prelate Seerias: "This is not your land to settle. That makes you invaders."
Prince Mordred: "We were accepted by the Eberron."
Prelate Seerias: "You are not accepted by me!"
She lashes out with a backhand and catches Mordred off-guard. He stumbles back and clutches his stinging skin. Her sudden outbursts might just land him in real trouble if he's not careful.
Prelate Seerias: "Invaders from the sky. You come, you claim lands not your own and then kill my sisters to keep them out."
Prince Mordred: "Your sisters tried to kill us first."
Prelate Seerias: "You claim our holy ground!"
The prince falters.
Prince Mordred: "We didn't know, we'll settle elsewhere if--"
Evidently this woman has zero inclination to be reasonable.
Prince Mordred: "You don't know who you're messing with."
Prelate Seerias: "Those would be rather entertaining last words, wouldn't they?"
She stares at him with dead serious eyes and he decides not to push his luck any further. He certainly isn't going to make jibes if his life might actually be forfeit. Then there's a tremendous boom from above them. Mordred thought it was the storm coming in when he first heard it but as he looks up he sees the massive hulk of Camelot. He knows his father is here on Caledonia so who would--?
Prince Mordred: "Mother..."
Then there's flashes of light and, as he watches, he realises it's about to rain hot, hot plasma. Apparently his mother is very unhappy. Plasma bolts strike the terrain around the mountain, melting jungle areas to ash and molten slag in an instant. One blast hits the mountain towards the peak and the whole area shakes violently. Mordred thinks he's probably going to end up dead by his own mother's hand instead of being rescued.
Prelate Seerias stands defiantly while her two guards looks uncertain about the new development. She thrusts her finger towards the ship looming massive in the sky.
Prelate Seerias: "So they think to return now, do they!? Perhaps they sense the presence of the other invaders!"
It takes Mordred a moment to follow the train of words that the priest of Lolth just ran through.
Prince Mordred: "You mean... you've seen this ship before?"
She spins to face him.
Prelate Seerias: "Indeed! The invaders that came before you! Seems they have taken you as allies!"